Valerie B Duffy

Pronouns: She/her
Valerie Duffy is a Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. She offers a wealth of experience in food, nutrition, health promotion, and public health nutrition. Her research program has two main areas fueled by extramural funding. First, her team aims to understand sensory nutrition or the influence of variation in chemosensory perception on food flavor, food preference, and consumption. Recently, her team has translated sensory nutrition into individualized dietary recommendations for children and adults through online survey and tailored nutrition messages. The ultimate goal is to leverage sensory nutrition to encourage consumption of healthy diets that are enjoyable for promotion of health and prevention of disease. Her second major area of research interest involves the formation of interdisciplinary teams to work with community agencies to promote health diets and weights of children and their families, particularly those of economic disadvantage. These efforts incorporate undergraduate and graduate student research and investigate the effectiveness of community-based interventions, mhealth, and social media to improve diet healthiness for obesity prevention. Dr. Duffy and her students have published numerous papers and have presented at national and international meetings. She has received several awards for excellence in teaching, research, and service. Please note Valerie will be presenting remotely but will deliver their talk and Q&A live.

Steve Engel

Pronouns: He/him
The simple acts of recognizing a friend’s face, or noticing the color of their hair, require an enormous amount of work by our brains. My lab focuses on understanding this work. We use the methods of cognitive neuroscience to characterize precisely how neurons in the human brain support visual perception. Most of our experiments combine behavioral measurements of perception with functional MRI or EEG measurements of neural activity.

One main topic under investigation is plasticity in the visual system. We are currently investigating the extent to which the adult visual system can modify itself through visual adaptation and learning. The adaptation work investigates how the visual system responds to changes in the environment, using a novel “altered reality” system based on VR technology, that allows users to see a world that is just like ours, but that differs in a controlled way. We are currently studying, for example, how the visual system changes when we remove (or enhance) all vertical lines from what subjects see, over periods of minutes, hours, and even multiple days. We also are applying the lessons we have learned to aid clinical therapies. One project examines the effects of using altered reality to allow people with macular degeneration to view displays where the information hidden behind their scotomas is remapped to another part of the visual field. We also have projects applying knowledge of neuroplasticity to aid therapies for strabismus and amblyopia. Please note Steve will be presenting remotely but will deliver his talk and Q&A live.

Sophie Nicklaus

Pronouns: She/her
I am the research director at the Centre for Taste and Feeding Behaviour (CSGA) at INRAE’s Burgundy-Franche-Comté centre, and the winner of the 2022 INRAE Scientific Breakthrough Award. My passion for the science of nutrition began as a young biologist and soon led to my fascination with food and the influences that shape our food preferences. Since then I have dedicated my career to studying children’s eating behavior and how it might be modified to steer children onto the right path to healthy eating throughout life. Central to my research is the understanding that it is not enough simply to help children identify which foods are healthy and encourage them to eat them. We must also take heed of other powerful factors that drive food choices – including social, psychological and cultural factors, collectively known as Alimentation. Among these, one of the most influential is pleasure.

Ren Ng

Pronouns: He/him
Ren Ng is a professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests are in imaging, graphics, computer vision, human vision and artificial intelligence. Prior to Berkeley, Ren was founder and CEO of Lytro, Inc., which commercialized his Ph.D. research and brought consumer light field cameras to market. Ren completed his Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University, and received the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award and Stanford’s Arthur Samuel Award. Ren has received the 2020 ECCV Best Paper Honorable Mention, Jim and Donna Gray Faculty Award for Undergraduate Teaching, Hellman Faculty Fellowship, Sloan Research Fellowship, the HIPA Photographic Research Award, PMDA Technical Achievement Award, R.I.T.’s Imaging Hall of Fame, the Selwyn Award from the Royal Photographic Society, MIT Tech Review’s TR35 and Entrepreneur of the Year, Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, and Silicon Valley Journal’s 40 under 40. Please note Ren will be presenting remotely but will deliver his talk and Q&A live.

Pawan Sinha

Pronouns: He/him
Pawan Sinha is a professor of vision and computational neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He received his undergraduate degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and his Masters and doctoral degrees from the Department of Computer Science at MIT. He was at the University of California, Berkeley for the first year of his graduate studies. Using a combination of experimental and computational modeling techniques, research in Pawan’s laboratory focuses on understanding how the human brain learns to recognize objects through visual experience and how objects are encoded in memory. The lab’s experimental work on these issues involves studying healthy individuals and also those with neurological disorders such as autism. A key initiative of the lab is Project Prakash; this effort seeks to accomplish the twin goals of providing treatment to children with disabilities and also understanding mechanisms of learning and plasticity in the brain.

Pawan has served on the program committees for prominent scientific conferences on object and face recognition and is currently a member of the editorial board of ACM’s Journal of Applied Perception. He is a recipient of the Pisart Vision Award from the Lighthouse Guild International, the PECASE – the highest US Government award for young scientists, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship in Neuroscience, the John Merck Scholars Award for research on developmental disorders, the Jeptha and Emily Wade Award for creative research, the James McDonnell Scholar Award, the Troland Award from the National Academies, the Global Indus Technovator Award and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Delhi. Pawan’s teaching has been recognized by Departmental honors and the Dean’s Award for Advising and Teaching at MIT. Please note Pawan will be presenting remotely but will deliver his talk and Q&A live.

Martin Yeomans

Pronouns: He/Him
Martin joined the University of Sussex in 1989, where he is currently Professor of Experimental Psychology. He has established a strong research group exploring various aspects of human eating and drinking, with over £3 million in grant income at Sussex to date. He currently supervises 2 DPhil students, and most of his 25 previous DPhil students have gone on to research careers in academia or industry. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications and around 20 book chapters and co-edited a recent book on Flavor, Satiety and Food Intake.

Martin has a long history of engagement with the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries internationally, with consultancy and contract work with many international companies.

Marianna Obrist

Pronouns: She/her
Marianna Obrist is Professor of Multisensory Interfaces and, before joining UCL, she was head of the Sussex Computer Human Interaction (SCHI ‘sky’) Lab at the School of Engineering and Informatics at the University of Sussex. Her research ambition is to establish touch, taste, and smell as interaction modalities in human-computer interaction (HCI). Her research is mainly supported by an ERC starting grant. As part of her research, she developed a novel scent-delivery technology that was exhibited at the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2019 and 2020 in Davos. Supported by an ERC proof-of-concept, this technology is now commercialised through OWidgets Ltd, a University start-up she co-founded in 2019. Before joining Sussex, Marianna was a Marie Curie Fellow at Newcastle University. She was selected Young Scientist 2017 and 2018 to attend the WEF in China, and become an inaugural member of the ACM Future of Computing Academy (ACM-FCA) in 2017. More recently, Marianna was appointed as a Visiting Professor at the Burberry Material Futures Research Group at RCA and spent the summer 2019 as a Visiting Professor at the HCI Engineering Group at MIT CSAIL.

Lorenzo Stafford

Pronouns: He/him
My research interests are centred on how our sensory system (mainly smell and taste) affect our behaviour on a unisensory and multisensory level. One example of this is how our perception of alcohol is affected not merely by taste but also by auditory factors, which is important to understand as this influences the rate at which alcohol is consumed and thus intoxication. More recently, I have conducted research that seeks to further understand the relationship between the chemical senses and the emotion of disgust and have current collaborations with colleagues in the department’s Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology.

Kirsty Dunn

Pronouns: She/her
My research interests lie in the investigation of cognitive development in utero and throughout the first year of life. During an ESRC 1 + 3 studentship, I investigated infant understanding of numeracy and object permanence. These projects aimed to investigate the use of infant social looking and the effects of the social environment when measuring these aspects of cognition. I have since been involved in a number of language acquisition projects. Currently, I have been awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship investigating the processing of social stimuli in utero.

Kevin Mitchell

Pronouns: He/him
I am an Associate Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin. My research is aimed at understanding the genetic program specifying the wiring of the brain and its relevance to variation in human faculties, especially to psychiatric and neurological disease and to perceptual conditions like synaesthesia. My group discovered numerous genes involved in specifying neuronal connectivity in the developing brain and shown that mutations in such genes in mice can lead to neurological and behavioural symptoms, modelling aspects of epilepsy, psychosis and ADHD. My cross-disciplinary work on synaesthesia has helped shape the understanding of the genetic, developmental and neural basis of this unique perceptual condition. I am also a leading scholar in the genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders, having made numerous theoretical contributions and recently edited a book on the subject. The over-arching goal of my work is to help develop and promote a coherent conceptual framework in which to integrate findings from diverse fields, particularly genetics, developmental biology and neuroscience.

Jenny Bosten

Pronouns: She/her
My research interests lie in visual perception, particularly in colour vision, individual differences and spatial information processing. I am interested in how the brain represents colour information and use neuroimaging methods in fMRI and EEG to characterise colour representation at different levels of the visual system. This is the focus of a new ERC-funded project COLOURCODE, which will run from 2020-2025. I am also interested in individual differences in colour perception and their genetic and environmental determinants, and minority phenotypes including anomalous trichromacy and tetrachromacy. I am interested in how colour perception may be tuned genetically or developmentally to the colour statistics of natural scenes. I use individual differences as a method to explore the connection between different visual traits: correlated differences may imply shared neural resources. I am interested in the genetic determinants of individual differences in basic and more complex visual traits, including stereopsis, motion, contrast sensitivity, colour vision and face perception

Jamie Ward

Pronouns: He/him
I conduct research in human cognitive neuroscience using methods such as neuropsychology, fMRI, TMS and EEG. The specific focus of my present research can be divided into three inter-related strands that all relate to individual differences in perceptual experience, and the relation between perception and other aspects of cognition (including memory and social cognition). My research group is one of the world-leading centres for studying the phenomenon of synaesthesia (hearing flashes, tasting words, coloured music, etc.). The research is revealing how individual differences in conscious perceptual experiences are linked to neurobiological differences and how they relate to cognition more broadly. Our present research examines how synaesthesia is linked to memory function and perceptual sensitivity.

Charles Spence

Pronouns: He/him
Professor Charles Spence is a world-famous experimental psychologist with a specialization in neuroscience-inspired multisensory design. He has worked with many of the world’s largest companies across the globe since establishing the Crossmodal Research Laboratory (CRL) at the Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University in 1997. Prof. Spence has published over 1,100 academic articles and edited or authored, 16 books including, in 2014, the Prose prize-winning “The perfect meal”, and the international bestseller “Gastrophysics: The new science of eating” (2017; Penguin Viking) – winner of the 2019 Le Grand Prix de la Culture Gastronomique from Académie Internationale de la Gastronomie. His latest book Sensehacking was published in 2021. Much of Prof. Spence’s work focuses on the design of enhanced multisensory food and drink experiences, through collaborations with chefs, baristas, mixologists, chocolatiers, perfumiers, and the food and beverage, and flavour and fragrance industries. Prof. Spence has worked extensively in the world of multisensory experiential wine and coffee and has also worked extensively on the question of how technology will transform our dining/drinking experiences in the future. Over the last decade alone, Prof. Spence and the CRL have been featured in more than 3,000 newspaper articles, radio interviews, and television programs.

Bruno Laeng

Pronouns: He/him
Bruno Laeng is professor in Cognitive Neuropsychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo. Laeng is currently the Director of the Eye Tracking and Pupillometry laboratory at at the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo. He is also one of the principal investigators at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion (RITMO), at the University of Oslo. In 2018 he has been called to be a member of The Norwegian Academy of Science (Humanities and Social Sciences Division). He has been previously on sabbatical leave and visiting scholar at Columbia University (New York), Sophia University and Senshu University, both in Tokyo (Japan) and with fellowships from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

Brett Kagan

Pronouns: He/him
Dr Brett J. Kagan is the Chief Scientific Officer at Cortical Labs, a Melbourne based start-up committed to building a new generation of Synthetic Biological Intelligence by integrating living brain cells with silicon and leveraging their information processing abilities. Dr Kagan has previously completed a PhD at the Florey Institute through the University of Melbourne in stem cell therapy for neonatal brain injury and was a post-doctoral research fellow in regenerative medicine with a focus on bioinformatics.

Barry C Smith

Pronouns: He/him
Barry C Smith is a professor of philosophy and director of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. He is director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses, which pioneers collaborative research between philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists. His current research is on multisensory perception, focusing on taste, smell and flavour. Recently, he has co-written with patients and clinicians on Covid-relation olfactory dysfunction. He has published theoretical and experimental papers, in Nature, Food Quality and Preference, Current Opinion in Food Science and Chemical Senses. A frequent broadcaster on BBC radio, he wrote and presented a 5-part series on The Art and Science of Blending 2019 and a 10-part series on The Uncommon Senses in 2016. He is the editor of Questions of Taste: the philosophy of wine (Oxford University Press) and contributes regularly to The World of Fine Wine.

Anna Franklin

Pronouns: She/her
I lead the Sussex Colour Group and the Sussex Baby Lab in the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex. Our research investigates human colour vision and perception using methods drawn from cognitive psychology, developmental science and neuroscience. We aim to understand how humans see and think about colour, how colour perception develops, and to identify how colour is represented by the brain. Our research uses colour to understand other aspects of perception and cognition such as categorisation; the influence of language on perception; perceptual development; perception in Autism; aesthetics; ensemble perception; and adaptation and calibration to visual statistics.

Anil Seth

Pronouns: He/him
I am Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, where I am also Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science. I am also Co-Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Program on Brain, Mind, and Consciousness, and of the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme: From Sensation and Perception to Awareness. I was recently an Engagement Fellow with the Wellcome Trust. Understanding consciousness is one of the greatest challenges for 21st Century science. How does the wetware inside your skull give rise to rich inner universe of ‘being you’? My mission is to explain how consciousness happens, and to use the insights from consciousness science for the benefit of medicine, technology, and society. With over 200 academic publications, I have been recognized as a Web Of Science Highly Cited Researcher (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022) – a list which identifies the top 0.1% of scientists and social scientists by impact of their work.